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Exalted Daemons are mortals, most often Chaos Warriors who have given their soul to a Lesser Daemon of Chaos. Possession is among the various calamities that can befall a mortal in the Old World. Some mortals willingly embrace possession, seeing it as a doorway to incredible power. Indeed, those mortals found worthy to host such a monster find their capabilities much improved, but at a terrible price. The possessing Daemon slowly devours the soul, feeding off the life energy to sustain its presence in the mortal world, some Exalted Daemons seem to be able to live indefinitely however, conquering the Daemon within and becoming fearsome warleaders. Exalted Deamons are some of the mightiest fighters amongst the Warriors of Chaos, whilst not as powerful as the mighty Daemon Princes, they display similarities in abilities and appearance, often acting as terrifying leaders or lieutenants for their more powerful brethren. The ancient Daemon Prince Urlfdaemonkin is known for gifting his mortal descendants with Exalted Daemonhood.[1][2]

Exalted Bloodthirsters

Bloodthirsters are the most deadly of all Khorne's Daemons -- they are fury given form and slaughter made manifest. Yet even amongst Bloodthirsters, the supreme deathbringers of the Blood God, there are some who stand apart. The most ferocious of their kind have been blessed by almighty Khorne himself, and are known as Exalted Bloodthirsters.[3a]

To have basked in the fiery rage of the Blood God, to be knighted by his double-handed sword, to then join the ranks of the Lord of Battle's honour guard is an unmatched mark of distinction. Such divine tribute swells the already immense Bloodthirsters to colossal proportions, their gigantic forms spilling out so much bloodlust that the air around them ripples if overheated from some supernatural furnace.[3a]

An Exalted Bloodthirster can only cross from the Realm of Chaos into the material world through exceptionally large rifts, such that only occur in the most calamitous of events. When the veil is so torn that he can push through the barriers, an Exalted Bloodthirster announces his arrival by bellowing his presence with the sound of a thousand thunderclaps. This is a blood challenge -- a call to battle for anything that can hear his roar. Sparks and black smoke issue forth from his nostrils and his iron-hard hooves smite unnatural power. Single-handedly a match for an entire army, an Exalted Bloodthirster seeks only to fight, to unleash his limitless rage in combat unbridled, and to claim a veritable mountain of skulls for his insatiable master.[3a]

Exalted Great Unclean One

There is intense rivalry amongst the Great Unclean Ones -- the Greater Daemons of Nurgle, for they all long for the attentions of their Plaguefather. To be noticed by the Lord of Decay, a Great Unclean One must surpass all others in the spreading of pestilent blessings. To be the rotten apple of all mighty Nurgle's eye, a Great Unclean One must become a walking pandemic, a manifestation of all that is corrupt. Yet even this task is not enough, for to truly gain the favour of the Master of the Garden of Blight, a Great Unclean One must accomplish his befouling goals whilst displaying the most ebullient of moods. After all, it is a joyful thing to bring forth a debilitating pox, for it is a beautiful thing well worth celebrating.[3c]

To those Great Unclean Ones that raise their levels of filth and disease to new heights, a special gift is bestowed. The divine blessing of Nurgle is made consummate with a draught of mouldering elixir from the Plaguefather's cauldron. Those who have so sipped, grow in size and stature, blossoming into what is known as an Exalted Great Unclean One. First amongst Nurgle's Daemons, these unholy creatures are so huge and bloated that their bulk seems to overflow with even more ponderous fleshy folds, all rank with disease -- they truly are the foulest of the foul.[3c]

Exalted Great Unclean Ones are rarely seen in the mortal realms, for their great mass requires a prodigious supply of magic to support them. When the Winds of Magic gust to hurricane force, then the Exalted Unclean Ones can again walk the world, bringing with them unimaginable pestilence, poisoning the air with their mere presence.[3c]

Exalted Keeper of Secrets

There is no creature more lithesome on the battlefield than an Exalted Keeper of Secrets -- it pirouettes through combat, its many long and sensuous arms gracefully whirling an array of razor-sharp nails, keening blades and claws with heavily serrated cutting edges. In the pale Daemon's weaving wake, limbs are sheared off, innards are spilled and blood is splattered in fountain-like arcs, all perfectly choreographed, all falling to the ground in aesthetically pleasing patterns.[3d]

A Keeper of Secrets is a formidable foe, able to cast alluring deadly spells or disembowel a Dragon in close combat, yet perhaps the most lethal aspect of these Slayers of Slaanesh is their ability to see inside to a creature's innermost desires and thus expertly tempt them towards eternal damnation. An Exalted Keeper of Secrets has performed such exquisite services and delivered so many souls to the Dark Prince of Chaos, that the Lord of Excess has granted a glorious gift -- he has allowed the Keeper of Secrets to suckle at his own divine power. Such power swells through a Great Daemon so it grows mightier still. Ripples of pleasure and pain wash out from their graceful and long-limbed bodies, numbing any not pure of both heart and mind with a cacophony of overwrought sensation.[3d]

The mundane world cannot long support the unnatural energy that pours out of an Exalted Keeper of Secrets, and such a Daemon can only walk upon the mortal realm during those rare peak periods of Chaotic power. Yet when these times do come, the Exalted Keeper of Secrets struts eagerly into the world, desperate to unleash their seductive enchantments and reap ever more souls for the Prince of the palace of Pleasures.[3d]

Exalted Lord of Change

Tzeentch constantly tests his minions, seeking those who can lead his intrigue-filled designs. Only the Lords of Change can navigate the intricate mindmazes, and few of them are devious enough to puzzle the countless schemes within. Those that can, follow the clues to a chamber secreted deep in the Impossible Fortress. There, amidst a treasure trove of his longest running and most convoluted manipulations, the Greater Daemons are granted the favour of Tzeentch. Each bathes in Tzeentch's living flames, a blessing that imbues them with still greater powers and exalted status.[3b]

Exalted Lords of Change are the master movers of the most ambitious plots. Each Daemon has his nefarious hands on hundreds of different destinies, keeping watch much as a spider at the centre of a web keeps track of each sticky filament, waiting for prey to become entangled. Many plans involve the eternal war between the gods in the Realm of Chaos, yet no few of the strands wind through the mortal realm. It is perilous for an Exalted Lord of Change to enter the mortal world, save when storms of magic unleash a truly massive amount of eldritch power to sustain them.[3b]

When an Exalted Lord of Change spreads his wings upon the mortal world, then let all tremble, for such is its sorcerous might and vast uncaring knowledge, that even the mightiest must fear it. Those who dare approach an Exalted Lord of Change face dangers beyond just being blasted by magics of sliced open by rending claws, for the Daemon's croaking voice utters divine nonsense, all-seeing intuitions juxtaposed with intriguing half-truths that make even the most strong-willed second guess their every intention. Amidst this maelstrom of magic, Tzeentch's favoured minions wreak their inscrutable changes upon the world.[3b]

Notable Exalted Daemons

  • Grydal, Scourge of the South - Chieftain of the Snaegr Tribe and direct descendant of the ancient Urlfdaemonkin.

Sources

  • 1: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd ED -- Tome of Corruption
  • 2: Warhammer Armies: Hordes of Chaos (6th Edition)
  • 3: Storm of Magic (supplement)
    • 3a: pg. 116
    • 3b: pg. 117
    • 3c: pg. 118
    • 3d: pg. 119